May 27, 2011

A Welcome Addition

Mr. Man and I visited an art show by Matt Johnson at Open Square a few weeks back, and I *may* have started panting when I saw one of the pieces in the show. More on that in a minute. But first, check out how amazing the metal sculpture looks in Open Square's fourth floor gallery space:
And now, for the little metal baby we're bringing home. It's official name is 'Coils #2".  But I think we should probably think of another name? Cause otherwise it sounds like we're calling it.......*number two*.
Our baby weighs about as much as a baby pachyderm.  I have no idea how we're going to get it home!

May 25, 2011

What A Difference A DAY Makes

Last week I posted this photo showing what our backyard garden currently looks like:

Then - over the weekend, I moved A YARD AND 1/2 of mulch in one day, and NOW looks like this:
Plus a few other changes:
1. I pulled out the purple pansies because their color wasn't jiving with the rest of the garden.
2. I added two red fiberglass pots filled with annuals - there's one on the right, and one on the left.
3. We took down a giant norway maple branch in the back and have yet to remove it.

May 23, 2011

Outdoor Rug Shenanigans

Hey, online retailers,  I don't have time to design my own outdoor rug.  That's what you're for.  Our back porch is about 5 feet wide and about 14 feet long. I *cannot* be the only person with a narrow, but LOOOOONG back porch in the market for an outdoor rug.  I just can't. And yet. It appears I can.
Flor doesn't sell outdoor rugs. Other places I've looked: Pier 1, QVC, CB2, West Elm, JCPenny, Overstock, Room and Board, Plow and Hearth,William Sonoma, and Nothing is the right size. I've made canvas floor cloths in the past, but I want something squishy and soft under my feet. The only other option appears to be buying two runners (Maybe two of these?) and laying them next to each other, or buying two 4x7ish rugs and putting them back to back. Maybe this one? Or this one?

Or - I could buy one of these in a custom size and paint some kind of funky stencil on top in a big bold design like the ones below? I'd LOVE to hear your suggestions!

May 20, 2011

What a Difference A Year Makes

When we bought our row house, the backyard looked like this:
One year later, in May 2010, it looked like this:
Two years later, in May 2011, it looks like this:
I'm very happy with the shapes of the beds, as compares to last year. And I like how things are filling in - in the back. AND MAYBE THE SUN WILL FREAKING COME OUT so I can add mulch BEFORE JULY.

May 18, 2011

"Suh-Weet Man" or "SQUEEEEE"

I've spent the last four weekends either crawling on my knees or up on a stepladder while scraping, patching holes, priming, and then finally painting our upstairs back porch.  Let's go back in time and see where we started.......
 Before we moved in - it looked like the image above. Ack.
The enclosed space wasn't something we'd use, where as an open porch WAS something we'd use,  so we Mr. Man demolished the enclosure. Clearly the enclosure was a DIY job. Removal of the enclosure brought us here last summer:
I started painting the ceiling, moved to the rails, and am finishing up with the floor. I am exhausted because the prep work took FOREVER to do properly. At the beginning, when only the ceiling was painted, I decided all my efforts were going to be about as useful as polishing a turd.  But now that most of the painting is finished, I gotta say - depending on how exhausted I am - either (in the voice of a stoner) "suh-weet man" OR (in the voice of a small child clasping her hands together like starfish,) "SQUEEEEEEE!" Here's where we are now:
I'll do a side-by-side comparison for the final reveal, but I thought you'd like a sneak peak. That's Pratt and Lambert exterior oil semigloss paint on the floor in London Fog (color 28-20). Pratt and Lambert accent exterior acrylic semigloss in Wolf (color 25-20) on the posts and rails. And Pratt and Lambert Laurel Mist (17-28) in eggshell on the ceiling. Thoughts?

May 16, 2011

Patching A Chimney Hole

In the continuing saaaaaaaaaagggggggggggaaaaaaa of our attic insulation project, I bring you the next installation: A Hole in the Chimney (dear Liza, dear Liza.) Mr. Man wisely inspected our attic crawl space. Here's what he knew: if there were any issues up there we didn't deal with before dense packing insulation, we would be completely fucked dealing with them after dense packing. While crawling around on his stomach, Mr. Man found a hole in one of our chimneys.
In theory, exhaust gasses from our hot water heater and boiler could have started a fire in the attic or escaped into the attic and eventually into the house. The hole had to go. Mr. Man used a wire brush to clean the existing brick and mortar, and then a spray bottle of water to wet the mortar and the brick pieces to be used for patching.

If the brick is not wet, the water from the mortar wicks into the dry brick mortar and weakens the mortar and the bond. BAD! Then he mixed up some mortar and patched the hole using mortar and small pieces of brick. This was his view as he shimmied into the attic crawl space:
Mr. Man=hero.

May 13, 2011

'Arcing Breaker'<-You Say That Like It's a *Bad* Thing.

When our upstairs lights started flickering, Mr. Man took immediate action, temporarily shutting off the upstairs lights and outlets. Then we both sat in the dark like Ma and Pa Ingalls and said a little prayer to the god of fire for sparing us. Then Mr. Man played an old timey tune on his fiddle while I whittled a corn cob dolly.
Says Mr. Man: "To all those amateur electricians out there, just because the lights turn on when you connect a few random wires, doesn't mean your house won't burn down!" Amen brother.

So, once again Beaulieu Electric to the rescue. Thanks Paul! And by the way Paul? Nice mustache.

I didn't understand much of what Paul said he found. But whatever he said? He was really excited about it. It mostly sounded like this: " So your mer mer blah blah was wha wher. And now your blah blah blah is mer mer mer." I don't speak 'electric'. The one thing Paul said that  I *did* understand? "And then I found this arcing breaker."

The joys of old home ownership.

May 9, 2011

Welcome BlogHer Readers!

Welcome to BlogHer readers! Lovely to have you!  I'm very good about following back on Twitter and Google Friend (over there on the right.) Leave a comment so I can come visit you!

Holyoke Home is one couple. One dog. One achingly lovely historic brick row house and garden. One very cool city. One VERY LONG renovation 'wish list.'  One project at a time?  So far, not so much.  

Here are a few of my favorite posts:
This is actually the SECOND weirdest thing we found left behind by our home's previous owner.
Happy Halloween!! Want some candy?! (sound of crickets).
- The big kitchen 'reveal'.

May 6, 2011

Friday Holyoke Fix: HH Richardson Train Station

Downtown Holyoke was once home to copious gorgeous buildings: an opera house, a stunning flatiron building, a marble hotel. Gone. All gone. One treasure that remains is our HH Richardson designed train station. Here's what it looked like in the days of yore:

And here's what it looks like now:

May 4, 2011

When It Comes to Electricity Issues, I'm on a 'Need To Know' Basis

Me: Mr. Man, why are the lights in the house flickering?
Mr. Man: Well, it's happening throughout the house. So it's probably a city electricity issue.
***fast forward 18 hours***
Me: Mr. Man? Why is there no electricity upstairs?
Mr. Man: I turned the breaker off because...............Do you really want to know what I've known for awhile?
Me: You mean I've been on a 'need to know' basis about an issue with the electricity in our house?
Mr. Man: Yup.
Me: (considers next move.)
Me: Will said electricity issue further delay the insulation/bathroom project?
Mr. Man: (considers next move.)
Me: You know what? 'Need To Know' works for me.

May 2, 2011

Scenes From a Row House Dining Room

No big changes to report. Just. The light was lovely.
 And it was reasonably clean.
So. Yeah.